U.S. Government Should Call for Release of Bahraini Political Prisoners

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged the U.S. government to use the third anniversary of the Bahraini uprising to publicly push for the release of political prisoners.

“Human rights activists in Bahrain wonder when President Obama will act on his 2011 pledge that the United States ‘cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just,’” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The Bahraini government’s repression over the last three years, including its jailing of political dissidents, has made the country more unstable. It’s time the United States told its ally that its relationship with Bahrain can’t afford another year like the last three.”

Bahrain appears trapped in a cycle of protest and repression. In the last month, local human rights organizations report dozens of arrests in dawn raids by masked security officials. Protests have become more violent, with Bahrain authorities reporting over 2,300 injuries and nine deaths of police personnel since protests began in early 2011.

“As Bahrain lurches into its fourth year of political unrest, the United States should call for the release of Bahrain’s political prisoners,” said Brian Dooley. “Human rights defenders remain in prison, the country is increasingly polarized, and sectarian divisions are deepening. Time is running out for Bahrain; if it is to find a way out of its human rights crisis it needs to release its political prisoners.”


Published on February 12, 2014


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